Kolkata laser park won’t be Harry Potter land: Manick Sorcar

June 3rd, 2008 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Ashok Easwaran
Chicago, June 3 (IANS) The world’s first laser park is to come up in Kolkata, according to Manick Sorcar, the US-based son of legendary magician P.C. Sorcar, who says it will offer cutting edge entertainment along with learning opportunities. Manick Sorcar, who lives in Denver, said an agreement for the laser park was being finalised by him and the West Bengal government.

“It will not be a copy of Harry Potter land. My goal is to make it a fun place for the whole family, where they can spend the entire day and evening - having a memorable experience,” Sorcar told IANS in an interview here.

“During the day they can visit art galleries, holograms, planetarium, watch shows in indoor theatres, go shopping for handicrafts, gifts, and cottage industry or simply relax outside in the food courts.

“In the evening they will find themselves in a totally different world surrounded by the magic of synthesised dancing water fountains, three-dimensional laser effects, intelligent lighting, pyrotechnics and live shows - conveying a story that is strictly of our own, relevant to India.

“The ecstasy and thrill will be the same as watching my father’s world famous magic show, except that these are done with laser and other state of the art in lighting made by the students of the laser institute,” Sorcar said.

The proposed ‘laser galaxy’ will be a six-acre laser theme park, with a multi-storey building for the institution, laser art gallery, laboratories, planetarium, hologram display and more in addition to a professional theatre for indoor laser shows, Sorcar said.

Outside, there will be an amphitheatre with seating for 4,500 people, offering a panoramic view of an artificial mountain and trees. The stage will float on a large pond where live performances by 100 artistes can run simultaneously with giant size laser shows on a 150-ft diameter, 65-ft high, peacock-fan water screen and magical three dimensional effects in space.

The mammoth project will be co-produced by the government of West Bengal, according to Sorcar. The bulk of the fund will be raised from private investors, he said.

The park is expected to cost $40 million (about Rs.1.5 billion).

The seeds of this park were planted a year ago in Kolkata where Sorcar proposed the idea to Debesh Das, West Bengal’s minister of information technology.

“The proposal was met with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Sorcar, a two-time winner of the ILDA Artistic Award, considered the ‘Oscar of the laser industry’ and given by the International Laser Display Association.

After a year of planning, Sorcar displayed the architectural plans in progress and made a presentation of the overall concept at a meeting with Das in Phoenix, Arizona. Impressed with the development, Das offered several options in land, including the posh Rajarhat area of Kolkata, where it could be built, Sorcar said.

“The concept is similar to having a medical college and hospital - it will be a centre where students will learn about the theoretical aspects of laser at the institution, and then have the opportunity of applying it in the laboratories, laser art galleries and laser shows”, said Sorcar.

The educational institution will collaborate with the Jadavpur and Calcutta universities where the students of physics, illuminating engineering and architectural engineering, dealing with lighting design, will be able to get a hands-on experience with a wide variety of lasers at the galaxy.

“It will be a paradise for the technical minds wanting to explore the cutting edge technology with a wide variety of lasers in multiple wavelengths ranging from helium-neon to carbon dioxide,” said Sorcar.

Sorcar shot to fame in the early 1990s when his film “Deepa and Rupa: A Fairy Tale From India”, recognised as India’s very first animation mixed with live action, received a host of prestigious awards, including the Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival; and his “The Sage and the Mouse” won the Gold Medal at the International Film Festival of New York.

Shifting gear from traditional animation to laser animation in 2005, his production, “The Enlightenment of Buddha”, an extravaganza of live action with life-size laser animation on stage, won first place at the annual contest of the International Laser Display Association and Sorcar received his first ‘artistic award.’

Author of several university texts in lighting design, Sorcar holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering and is full-time chief executive and owner of a highly successful engineering company in Denver, which did the lighting design for Denver International Airport, sport centres in Japan, and palaces for Saudi princes.

(Ashok Easwaran can be contacted at ashok3185@yahoo.com )

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